Soybean crushing plant adds oil refinery in South Carolina

By | March 01, 2006
Carolina Soya LLC, a soybean processing plant in Estill, S.C., is adding an oil refinery to further process crude oil extracted there. The refined oil will be sold for use in food products and industrial uses, such as feedstock for biodiesel.

Preliminary construction on the $8 million project began Feb. 1, said Paul Hankey, vice president and general manager. It is expected to be completed by late fall or early winter of this year.

The company has the capacity to process 10 million bushels of soybeans or 15 MMgy of crude oil. Soybean meal and hulls are sold as animal feed ingredients. Carolina Soya is one of the major buyers of soybeans from local producers, and it also buys and sells corn and wheat, supplying them to area feed mills. Adding a refinery to its operations is a natural extension of what Carolina Soya already does, Hankey said.

Once the refinery is completed, all crude oil will be processed into refined bleached (RB) oil for industrial use or refined bleached deodorized oil, which is a food-grade product. Adding the refinery may not be the end of it, Hankey hinted at the possibility of future expansions. "Carolina Soya is in the discussion phase with other partners
concerning the construction of an on-site biodiesel facility that will use a significant portion of the RB oil produced by the refinery," he said, adding that additional details weren't being released at this time.

Due to the refinery, the company plans to add about 15 to 20 employees to its current workforce of 40. That will likely include high technical jobs, maintenance workers and quality control specialists. However, more than twice that many people could be hired if plans for future expansion become a reality, Hankey said.

Bobby Creech, vice president and commercial manager, said that by having an on-site refinery, value-added processes are kept within the company. It also provides more flexibility for Carolina Soya's soybean oil customers. "This further processing of the oil allows us to build on our existing reputation of high-quality soybean meal that's marketed to feed mills and the poultry industry in the Southeast," he said.

Carolina Soya, a privately held corporation, has been in operation in South Carolina since the 1950s. For more information, see the company Web site at
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